Monday, May 9, 2011

Fabulous Foodie Finds: Part One

Food is my passion, my hobby, my love.  In my free time, if I'm not in the kitchen, you're most likely to find me reading food blogs or a magazine like Food and Wine, watching the Food Network or Cooking Channel, or talking about food with my (almost) equally obsessed husband.  The upside to this is that I am always learning new things and expanding my gourmet horizons.  Recently I've discovered some especially amazing culinary game-changers, and I want to share the love with you!   And so I bring you a special theme this week: SMJ's Fabulous Foodie Finds.

Fear not!  None of these discoveries will require you to procure new kitchen appliances or obscure spices; every find is a simple concept or tweak that will make a world of difference in the way you eat or drink.  This is exciting stuff!  And instead of saving the best for last, I am giving it to you first, because no one should have to live for another second without this beverage in their life. Without further ado, I bring Part One:
Magical Coffee
and I do mean magical
 Photo from food52
I found this recipe over on the wonderful food52 blog (pet project of one of my culinary icons, Amanda Hesser).  Awhile back, there was a lot of hype in the foodie world about cold-brewed iced coffee.  I just let this conversation pass me by, thinking that putting the end of a brewed pot in the fridge or, better yet, hitting up one of my favorite coffee establishments for my iced coffee fix was doing me just fine.  Silly, silly, silly me!  Cold-brewed iced coffee is leaps and bounds better than its brewed-then-chilled counterpart, and the best part is, it is so easy to make at home, that it is actually easier to accomplish than stumbling over to City Feed at 7am and staring into the middle distance while a hipster kid gets me a cup of ice to fill at their giant coffee carafe.  All you do is mix 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee into a quart-sized mason jar filled with water, stir, cover and allow to sit overnight.  In the morning you strain it, and voila!  Rich, flavorful home-brewed iced coffee without so much of a hint of the bitterness you often get from brewed coffee.  This stuff is just smooth, smooth, smooth.
 My little brewing set up.
So, that's the cold-brewing iced coffee method.  To really take it over the top and make it magical, follow the recipe I found on food52:
Coffee Base: 
2/3 cups coarsely ground coffee
3 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (I only used 2 and it was perfectly sweet for my palate, but do what you will!)

1) Put ingredients in a quart jar and stir.
2) Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Finished Drink:
milk, half and half, or cream

1) Pour the coffee base through a sieve or strainer into a bowl, then strain back into jar for easy storage.
2) For each drink: Fill a tall glass halfway with ice. Pour in coffee until glass is about 3/4 full, and add milk/half and half/cream to taste.
3) Die of happiness.

From this recipe you get roughly a quart of iced coffee perfection, which, even for me, is enough to last two days.   I really can't adequately describe to you how uncommonly delicious this coffee concoction is: you get caramel undertones from the brown sugar, a hint of spice from the cinnamon, and absolutely zero acidity or grittiness.  For a fraction of the cost and the calories, you have a perfect chilled morning caffeine hit for your summer.   I mixed mine up while on the phone with my sister last night, strained it while chatting with my boys over cereal, and then my poor husband had to listen to me go on about how incredible it was for the rest of the morning (thanks, hon).  You must try this, stat.  It is about to change our whole summer...  LOVE!

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two: my newest fave semi-homemade dinner treat!


  1. Okay, I'm sold.
    This will literally be the first thing I do when I get home tonight.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. ^ For real, what he said. Clarke msg'd me immediately to tell me of his intentions. So you'd better believe it.

    I still employ your pinch of cinnamon secret when brewing at home - it's such an amazing trick!

    "Part 3: Die of happiness" - hahahhaha! :-)